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All About Pruning Saws

To keep your garden healthy and looking it's best you will need to prune your plants. Sometimes this is to remove dead or diseased parts of a plant, and sometimes this is to trim stems and foliage to give a better shape. When cutting stems up to one half inch in diameter I find it easiest to use a hand pruner. For anything from one half to two inches in diameter I will use a lopper. For anything bigger than two inches in diameter I will use a pruning saw.

With any hand tool I would recommend purchasing a high quality tool that will last you for years. A good quality pruning saw will last for years. It will also have a replaceable blade, so that when your blade wears out you can simply replace the blade, and not the entire saw.

Folding Pruning Saw

A folding pruning saw is the smallest, and I believe easiest to use, pruning saw. The saw has a handle which is about 10 inches long, and a blade of about 8 inches that folds out of the handle and locks into place. I find that with my folding saw I can easily cut a branch that is up to four inches in diameter. When you are done your pruning it is easy to fold your saw back up and put it in with your other tools or even into a holster or pocket. Be sure to clean the blade when you are done working for the day, or the next time you go to use your saw there may be sticky sap hardened on it.

A pole pruner seems like a fantastic idea. You want to cut a branch that is high up, and so you use a pruning saw mounted on a pole to do it. However, there a re several reasons to be very cautious of this. The first is somewhat obvious. You are cutting a branch that is a number of feet up above your head. There is a good chance that it will fall on you if you aren't careful. The other problem with a pole cutter is that it can be difficult to undercut the bark on the branch you are cutting, and so when the branch falls it is likely to rip a strip the bark directly under the branch, which is not good for the tree. So, it is probably best to get yourself into a position in which the branch will not fall on you, wear protective gear, and try to undercut the bark before you begin sawing away if you must use a pole pruner.

Finally, for bigger work there are chainsaws. This really gets us out of gardening and more into logging. I do find that electric chainsaws are easier to use than gas powered ones, as gas powered ones require a fair amount of maintenance. The electric saws typically can cut through only smaller trunks, which I also think is probably a good thing for the homeowner. However, whether electric or gas powered, both a potentially extremely dangerous, and it is probably best to leave this to a professional unless you are extremely familiar and comfortable with a chainsaw. If you do plan to buy a chain saw I'd strongly recommend going to a power equipment specialty store, where you can get a good advice, a quality tool, the proper safety equipment, and ideally some usage lessons.

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